Thursday, March 22, 2012

Five dark YA novels set in post-climate-change worlds

At Slate, Torie Bosch has an interesting essay about how dystopian young-adult fiction is tackling the social consequences of global warming. Her starting point is The Hunger Games story, and she tags a few other similarly themed novels, including:

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien. About the novel:
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents disappear.

As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she faces the brutal injustice of the Enclave and discovers she alone holds the key to a secret code, a code of “birthmarked” babies and genetic merit.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, Birthmarked explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where a criminal is defined by her genes, and one girl can make all the difference.

Read--Caragh O'Brien's Birthmarked, the movie.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver. About the novel:
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.

They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. About the novel:
A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.

In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....
Dark Life by Kat Falls.  About the novel:
Dark Life is set in the near future when global warming has caused the oceans to rise and reduced America to half its former size. Fifteen-year-old Ty and his family live on an ocean floor homestead. When outlaws attack the pioneer settlement, Ty teams up with a girl from the “Topside” who’s come subsea to search for her brother. Together they face dangerous sea creatures and venture into the frontier town’s rough underworld to discover the secret behind the outlaws’ eerie abilities.
Exodus by Julie Bertagna. About the novel:
In a drowned world, the search for a future is a terrifying fight for survival The mighty ice caps at the poles are in meltdown. The seas have risen. And land has disappeared forever beneath storm-tossed waves....

Exodus tells the incredible story of young people with the will to make their own new beginnings in the harshest of worlds.
Read Bosch's essay.

Writers Read: Paolo Bacigalupi.

Caragh O'Brien's Birthmarked, the movie.

--Marshal Zeringue